Greek-American skier Alexandros (AJ) Ginnis recently became the first alpine skier to register World Cup points for Greece at the 2021 Alpine Skiing FIS World Cup in Flachau, Austria.
The former U.S. Ski Team athlete is now the newest member on Greece’s national team, registered in the Hellenic Winter Sports Federation (EOXA).
“Wow what a day for me and Greece 🇬🇷in Flachau! First ever WC points by a Greek skier and a huge PB for me with an 11th place,” Ginnis wrote on Instagram.
The Hellenic Olympic team also praised the alpine skier for his great effort and contribution to the sport in Greece.
H καταπληκτική προσπάθεια του Αλέξανδρου Γκιννή που του έδωσε την 11η θέση στο Παγκόσμιο Κύπελλο, την καλύτερη που έχει πάρει ποτέ Έλληνας αθλητής της χιονοδρομίας#teamhellas🇬🇷 #ski #worldcup #ginnis pic.twitter.com/FPDlc5BLQV
— Ηellenic Olympic (@HellenicOlympic) January 23, 2021
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt also congratulated Ginnis, Tweeting:
“Athens-born Greek-American AJ Ginnis, skiing for Flag of Greece today became the first ever Greek to win a point scoring position in @fisalpine professional competition!”
The 26-year-old Greek-American skier did not have it easy in his career: he has battled five knee surgeries and a torn groin muscle before becoming successful in the sport.
Ginnis was only 17 In 2012 when he was named to the U.S. Ski Team, making his World Cup debut on December 22, 2014 in the Madonna di Campiglio Slalom.
Even before that tender age, however, he had undergone four surgeries on his left knee. That did not stop him, though, and he continued his career as if nothing had happened.
In 2015 Ginnis won the bronze medal in the Slalom at the World Junior Championships in Hafjel, Norway and continued to climb the ranks in national and international events.
During the 2016 – 2017 season Ginnis represented Team USA at the 2017 Alpine World Championships, hosted by St. Moritz, Switzerland.
On December 22, 2016 he succeeded in scoring his first World Cup points, finishing 26th in the Madonna di Campiglio Slalom.
In 2018 the Greek-American skier joined the Dartmouth College ski team after the U.S. team’s slalom program was cut. That year he suffered another knee injury and underwent yet another surgery.
In December 2019 he tore his groin muscle. He recovered quickly, but 2020 was of course later marred by the Covid-19 pandemic and World Cup events were cancelled.
In the spring of 2020, the Greek federation approached Ginnis and asked him what his standing with Team USA was. Since he has dual citizenship, they asked him if he would like to join EOXA.
Since the U.S. team told the athlete that they were unable to support him financially for the 2020-2021 season, Ginnis made the decision to become a member of the Greek team.
Now, taking yet another chance to win glory, Ginnis seized on the opportunity to continue a his successful career. From the country’s standpoint, it was also seen as beneficial for Greece to have an athlete of such standard in a sport in which the country lags behind, compared to other European nations.
Alexandros Ginnis was born in Athens, Greece on November 17, 1994. He grew up in the seaside suburb Vouliagmeni.
His father ran a ski school and that was where he met his American wife. Young Alexandros started skiing at Mt. Parnassus as a toddler, at the age of just two.
When he was 12, Alexandros moved to Austria, where his father worked as a ski instructor. It was then that the young skier decided to make his fun pastime a potential career.
Ginnis was 15 when his family decided to move to the United States, where he was enrolled at the Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont, where he improved his skiing skills.
Two years later, he became a member of the U.S. team. The rest of the story remains to be told for Ginnis and the Greek National ski team.